Amsterdam was choked with columns of tractors in a zero-notice strike following the Dutch government voting to pass new green legislation that will further damage the agricultural and construction sectors.
While the protest was in good humour, with Dutch Newspaper De Telegraaf reporting that farmers gave out hot coffee to the police officers on duty in the cold weather, a column of armoured vehicles deployed by the Dutch government’s military police were seen moving into position as the tractors got closer to the parliament buildings.
The protest clearly took the police by surprise, however, and its planning took place in secret, with organisers reportedly referring to it as a “surprise attack” on Amsterdam.
De #boerenprotesten bij t #Binnenhof en elders worden wel erg serieus: er rijden nu #pantserrupsvoertuigen vd #Marechaussee het land in… pic.twitter.com/hZ4F7ioH2T
— Richard Lamb (@RichardLamb) December 17, 2019
The “secret mission” came in response to the government passing an emergency law on curbing nitrogen emissions, with similar laws being passed accross Europe in response to European Union diktats on green policies. Farmer’s groups contest how emissions are measured and claim their work is not as damaging as governments claim, and regardless, as their protest banners state without farming there can be no food.
Particularly supporting of the farmers has been Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who while best known for his opposition to the Islamification of the Netherlands and Europe, is a populist and stands with voters against the European Union. He called the farmers “heroes” Wednesday and said he supported them against the anti-nitrogen “frenzy” that would destroy their livelihoods.
Onze boeren, onze helden!
Terecht dat ze het niet meer pikken die stikstofwaanzin die hun bedrijven helemaal kapotmaakt!
Steun voor de #boerenprotesten!!pic.twitter.com/vi8qTYW2b9
— Geert Wilders (@geertwilderspvv) December 17, 2019
The laws have also impacted the construction industry, with building projects accross the Netherlands halted mid-build after rulings on building permits having breached EU laws. The Dutch Parliament has also voted to lower speed limits on motorways accross the country from 80 to 60 miles per hour, to reduce pollution.
In a bold move which has clearly shown the Dutch government’s dedication to green politics over food production, it announced Wednesday that it would be offering support to farmers “who want to stop voluntarily”. This alongside a voluntary scheme where the government buys pig farms from farmers illustrates a nation bribing its own food creators into ceasing production.
Talking to farmers Tuesday night, Mr Wilders said that rather than halving the number of pigs in the country — the Netherlands is a significant global producer of pork — the country should halve the number of liberal members of Parliament instead.
This week’s tractor protests are not by far the first in Europe. Over 8,000 tractors descended on Berlin in November in protest over similar issues of overbearing green laws. The Netherland’s cpaital, the Hague, was also hit with a mass-protest in October when an estimated 3,000 tractors rocked up to oppose the government. In a surreal moment, the police attempted to close the roads leading into the city but the farmers used the off-road capabilities of their machines to simply drive around the roadblocks and carry on, according to reports.
Protesting Farmers with 8,600 Tractors Paralyse German Capital https://t.co/ysSEjl0F47
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 27, 2019
Incredible Pictures: Thousands of Tractors Shut Down Highways in Farmer’s Anti-Green Madness Protest https://t.co/87bv9vs5Yc
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 16, 2019